This sounds like some after school special gone wrong huh?
A lot of us (or should I say the majority? -myself included at times) have trouble getting our kids to listen. There are all kinds of self help books… plenty of people who say “this is the RIGHT” way to do it… or those “change your child in just 3 days!!” books…. lol okay maybe not those exact words, but I’m sure you get where I’m trying to go.
So to start, know I’m not the perfect parent. I don’t have the answer to everything. I will NOT tell you that this will work for you or your child. Because I don’t know you or them. And honestly, I hate it when people TELL others how to parent.
But what I can do is tell you what I’ve done, and hope it helps you or gives you an idea to try.
For the longest time I’ve not been able to REALLY explain how I get my kids to listen to me (for the most part lol). Because it was just something I did instinctually, and didn’t realise I was doing it until Jaxson’s Behavior Therapist put words to my actions.
It’s REALLY nice being validated in how you raise your kids when there are SO many people who look down at us. I about cried. lol
I hear a lot of people say that they have problems following through with commands. Or that they just can’t say no. Or even if they do say no, their kids don’t listen anyway.
But we all CAN do this. We do it already with Health and Safety.
If your child was about to swallow a battery, you would JUMP out of your seat, grab it, say no and throw that sucker away. lol Right?
Or if your child was about to run in front of a truck… there’s nothing that would stop us from running full speed towards that truck to save them. Or grab a hold of their hand and not allow them to do it.
So see, there ARE times where we ALL follow through with commands, or making sure that our kids KNOW that No means No. No matter what.
No matter how much they whine… you’re not going to let them swallow a battery or get hit by a truck.
I know… I know. Those are OBVIOUSLY bad things and DUH we wouldn’t do that.
But do you see where I’m coming from?
We HAVE the power to be consistent. And because we’re being consistent, we’re the ones who hold that power.
When the boys were very little, they got away with murder. lol Obviously, not literally. But they didn’t understand what I was saying, we don’t do spanking (they don’t understand why they’d get spanked anyway, plus I want my kids to trust me… so I just don’t do it… personal reasons). Time outs didn’t work. Yelling and screaming TOTALLY didn’t work… they just ended up crying and making the whole situation worse.
So I completely changed my approach to discipline and my rules.
If they did something I knew I wasn’t going to follow through with every single time… I just let them do it. lol Seriously! I even told them they COULD do it. Because see… I still hold the power at that point.
You want to bring rocks in the house and are going to cry and cry and cry until you bring these rocks in the house? Do I want them in the house? No… are they REALLY going to hurt anything? No. Fine. Yes, you can bring them in the house. Don’t say no first and then give in… because then they see that crying gets them a yes. Say yes right off the bat. Yes, you can have cookies for breakfast. Yes, you can totally run around practically naked, but a diaper.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve walked past a kid making a mess and just kept walking. lol No one was getting hurt. It wasn’t something I couldn’t just clean up later. So by not coming in, getting upset, telling them no and taking it away… I said yes. Sure. I had a mess to clean up, but I had a mess to clean up anyway. And this way, no one is screaming and getting upset. I was the one in command, because I allowed it to happen.
Because see… you’re the one saying yes. Even though technically you’re just not saying no… they’re technically listening to you because you’re saying yes.
When we’re constantly saying no, or yelling or getting upset, we become white noise and no one listens to us anyway. lol
Now, we obviously can’t just say yes to everything. So pick something you REALLY want to work on. Something you will, no matter how tired, or busy or whatever, will enforce. Like…. I don’t know… climbing on the counters.
So unless it’s health or safety… you will say yes to everything else, unless they’re on the counters. That’s when you say no. Calmly. Go over, tell them all done, and help them down. Then redirect. Every. Single. Time. they get up on the counters.
You’d be surprised how much they listen when they’re not constantly being told no.
And keeping calm is incredibly important. When I’m telling the kids what to do, I try my hardest to make sure I have a stern, but calm voice. I try not to yell.
Screaming and yelling really only makes things worse. We don’t like being screamed and yelled at.
If we did something wrong, we would want the person “correcting” us, to be patient, calm and understanding. So, that’s what we should be. Even if we have to do it 100xs. Because kids on the spectrum can take a lot longer to pick up on things. And that’s totally okay.
Then once they’ve got that down, and they’re listening to you about that, pick another thing to work on.
Justin and Tyler don’t ALWAYS listen to me. lol Heck, as adults we don’t ALWAYS do what we’re told to do. But I actually have a video of Tyler playing… he saw a mud puddle, ran as fast as he could towards it. I said STOP! and literally toes away from the water he stopped and came right back to me. Even though he REALLY wanted to play in the water.
When we find the best ways to communicate effectively and teach our kids… and we do it with love… not with anger or for them to fear us… they listen and trust that what we say is for their benefit. Even if they don’t fully understand it at the time.
You can do this! You’ve got this!
No matter where you are right now… how defeated you feel or how little your little one listens… you can always turn it around and fix it!
Start small! 🙂
Pick one thing you won’t budge on and stick with it.
You’ve got this!